Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Eddie Izzard and the Norwegian Rock Star

So, I guess you all remember that I got a ticket to the Eddie Izzard show on Sunday night, right? I only assume you knew because down there somewhere on this page it is written in really huge letters that I got a ticket. So, yeah, I went to the show, solo.

The conundrum of what to wear to a transvestite comedian's show on a snowy wet and COLD night in Oslo cannot be understated. I finally came up with what I thought to be a good, yet warm and funky, solution. I wore a snug black cashmere sweater over this fun poofy black tulle skirt that comes to about knee length, with over the knee tight black leather boots. Warm, funky, slightly 80's Madonna Goth, or so I liked to think. I finished it off with a big, long,flowing multi strand pearl necklace of my own making. Wardrobe issues figured out, I covered it all up in my black duffel/sleeping bag coat and headed off into the cold snowy night for Oslo.

The theatre was wedged into this tiny little alleyway on Karl Johannsgate, and believe it or not there was NO SIGN that Eddie Izzard was playing! Just a discreet sign for the theatre. There were two posters for the opening comedians, where someone had written under their pictures "Opening Act for Eddie Izzard" but no mention of his show itself. I kept wondering, how the hell were you to know he was there? How did anyone find out about the tickets? I asked a couple of people later, and they all said they found out by mistake on his website. See, it's a total conspiracy, I tell you! Norwegians keeping their secrets and not letting us know about the good stuff!

The doors opened and everyone scrummed to get in. The theatre was TINY. Really small, teeny tiny, but pretty. It's like they shrank a normal theatre, with box seats and proscenium and all, to 1/10th size. There were maybe 300 seats. I was sixth row sixth seat. SWEET! I was so close I could see his nose hairs!

The bar inside was hopping, so I had a beer and waited for the show. Two Norwegian comedians did their opening routines, they were pretty funny, though I only got about 15% of what they said. The fun part for me was seeing them be so animated, as, in general, Norwegians are not animated when they talk. So to see them make faces and yell and stuff was fun for me.

There was a half hour after that before Izzard came on. I started chatting with the guy next to me, he was separated from his girlfriend in the seating arrangement. He seemed pretty cool, nicely dressed, intelligent. We chatted about travel and such. He had been to SXSW in Austin, had recently been in LA for two months, lived in Berlin for a couple of years, etc. Like many Norwegians, well spoken and well traveled. I asked him why SXSW and he said he was in a band. I asked which one and he said "Madrugada". (On the link he's the guy in profile.)


If you've been in Norway for ten minutes, you've heard of Madrugada. They are BIG here. He was the bassist. It DID explain why all these people kept coming up to him and talking to him. I was so clueless, and to be honest I don't think I have heard any of their songs, but I guess I should go buy an album now, huh? Anyhow, purely by mistake I was seated next to Norwegian Rock Royalty. My friend Julia here knows them, though, so I am proud to say that the freaky wierd Austin network never fails me and has once again stood the test of random, "I'm from Austin do you know so and so" interconnection.

So finally, after I am sure I embarrassed myself by not knowing the Rock Star, (**not the first time I have embarrassed myself with celebrities unknown to me, see list below**) Izzard came on.

I was a little disappointed that he was not in girl clothes. He was wearing a red sports jacket, jeans, a blue shirt and hiking boots. He looks just like my friend Oliver in Austin. Truly, just like him. He proceeded to talk about, in no particular order: Vikings, Viking boats, Minimalist Norwegian museums, kiosks, flies, bunnies, bees, microphone stands, Star Trek, rhinocerouses, cab drivers in US and Norway, creatures with long ears, sharks, God, the Koran, Christians, Buddhists, Jesus (and Mary getting it on with Archangel Gabriel), more Star Trek, Superman's suit, Americans, and why hornets suck.

I got the feeling that he had a basic outline to keep him on track, and then just riffed around it. It felt very spontaneous and off the cuff. I enjoyed the hell out of it. The best bit, for me, was when he brought up the fact that he thought the folks who wrote Star Trek didn't go far enough with the possibilities of the phaser. Why just have "Stun" and "Kill" settings? Why not have "Lose all your memory" or "Pebble stuck in shoe" or "Got a really bad wedgie" settings as well? Then he would act out the ideas. I'm not sure which was funnier, the physical part of acting out the ideas, or the ideas themselves.

It was a helluva lotta fun. I was home by 11:30pm.

** Celebrities I have had conversations with but did not know they were famous until afterwards, when someone told me:
The ButtHole Surfers
Sonic Youth
Hal Ketchum
Kelly Rippa's husband, he's short but cute
Roky Erikson
David Crosby
Harry Knowles
...and I stepped on Billy Bob Thornton, though did not know it until someone asked me if I knew who I just stepped on....

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